How to Qualify for Free or Low-Cost Health Insurance

Health insurance is often connected to employment. If you are struggling to find work or are working hard to build a business or a freelance career, you’re going to have to find health insurance on the open market.

Get On A Family Plan

Often, the cheapest way for parents to insure themselves and their children is if one parent has their policy and the other parent carries the policy. Full family policies can be among the most expensive policies that a married couple can rely upon.

However, a fully family plan may be the best way to cover both adults and all the children in the household if there is any risk that anyone could be left uninsured. Once one adult in the household has either gotten a job that offers health insurance or has found a simple plan for a freelancer or has found a supported plan through a state or federal program.

Be Prepared To Look Back a Year

When reviewing online health insurance quotes, you need to submit information about your current income. If your current income is high and you need to leave your current employer or suddenly find yourself unemployed, you will need to include your income for the past year.

Getting free or low-cost health insurance could be challenging if your income was steady through the previous January 1. A simple way to get the lowest price while you’re still with your employer is to switch to an HDHP insurance policy with an HSA savings account.

A high deductible health plan will require you to pay all of your medical expenses until you have met a deductible, generally in the four figures. Be aware that an HDHP is required to cover the basics of physical, well-woman exams, and age-appropriate cancer screenings. Extra services will be charged to you until you meet the deductible. However, if you pair this with a health savings account, you can

  • use the HSA to pay your expenses
  • contribute to the HSA and get a tax break on your contribution
  • invest the dollars in the HSA
  • take the HSA with you if you find a better price

An HSA deductible will expand if you are covering more than one person. If you need an HSA to cover more than one adult, it’s a very good idea to load that HSA as soon as you can afford to contribute to the account so you can be as prepared as possible should something happen.

Consider a Short-Term Plan

If your current income is high, a short-term plan for a short time may be the best choice. A short-term plan to the end of the year could give you the chance to search for a new plan after January of the coming year.

Be aware that a short-term plan may be somewhat expensive. However, it will generally be less than a COBRA payment based on your former employer’s offerings. The key is to carefully consider what your upcoming income will be. If you suffer an accident or a radical loss of income, you may become eligible for Medicaid.

A sudden loss of income may not enable you access to Medicaid. If you are in financial distress after the loss of a job or the loss of a partner, reach out to social services immediately to make sure that you can qualify as soon as possible for extra financial assistance.

Free or low-cost health insurance may require you to jump through many hoops. As soon as your income takes a hit, reach out. Don’t wait until you’re at risk of losing your insurance altogether to ask for help.


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